Investing in local food production

Here’s a story from this morning’s NPR that grabbed my attention and reminded me that I have a constructive solution for this sort of thing. 

Apparently a Wells Fargo executive was disciplined for throwing lavish parties in a $12 million beach house the bank had recently foreclosed upon. The previous owners of the mansion had lost their fortune in the Madoff debacle.

My stomach turned and I felt a wave of nausea.

 My thoughts went like this:

        1. What kind of yucky callous executive could throw a party in the house of these                poor rich people who were just trying to enjoy their retirement?

  1. Well, they did buy a $12 million home so why should she care? She might be rationalizing it, thinking that if they are stupid enough not to see a Ponzi scheme from a billion miles away, they deserve their fate…
  1. Well, most of us are told that the way to grow our money is to invest it wisely. Who would choose a certificate of deposit at 2% when you can get 7% or whatever it was Madoff was guaranteeing?
  1. Of course we don’t usually worry too much HOW exactly it is that our money is growing. Otherwise, the Ponzi schemes would not get too far. Not to mention the companies that profit from the poisoning of the environment, exploitation of workers, child labor, slave labor…
  1. What is my money doing in that CD, anyways? It’s growing 2% a year doing what?

Enter my new hero, Woody Tasch, the author of “Slow Money”. He asks a simple question:

How would the world change if you invested 50% of your money within 50 miles of your home?

What if we could keep our money safe while the return on our investment was mostly the improvement of the quality of life of our entire community?

Tasch encourages us to invest in family farms, to improve our region’s food security – the amount of food grown locally. The financial system being what it is (a handful of banks are going under each week, in case you were not keeping up, and the Wall Street “insiders” are pulling OUT of stocks at an unprecedented rate, just this moment), a local farm might just be the safest place to stash savings.

Make up your own mind: look up Slow Money (http://www.slowmoneyalliance.org/ )

Also, look at recent stock market trends (I found this on Chris Martenson’s website): (http://money.cnn.com/2009/09/10/news/economy/insider.sales/index.htm?postversion=2009091107)

And here’s a new book I can’t wait to read:  http://transitionculture.org/shop/local-food-how-to-make-it-happen-in-your-community/

Some of us are saving for retirement, but usually in IRAs and 401K/403B types of instruments. Evidently, one can buy land using that money, without taking the money out and incurring a penalty, as long as one does it through a non-bank entity. This is all gobbledygook to me, so discuss with a qualified accountant, and… good luck slowing money down!

1 comment

 
Joanne Poyourow wrote 9 years 31 weeks ago

Community Investing

Speaking as someone for whom that last bit wasn't really gobbledygook (I spent 13 years as a CPA ... ), your post reminded me of a recent one on Rob Hopkins' blog, about Inward Community Investing, the idea of creating a program which enables investing internally within your local community.

Your subject line, however, turns to food.  A group here in California (not exactly a Transition group I am told) has created a local currency which is backed by FOOD.  It's called Mendo Food Futures and you can read more about it here.

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